Tuesday 16th January 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… Confirmation: A Spiritual Coming Of Age

January 14, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM

Part 11

In previous lessons, we have learned that out of the seven sacraments instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ, three of them can be received only once in life, namely, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. This is so because they imprint a “character,” that is, a spiritual, indelible mark that lasts forever, and, therefore, cannot be repeated.
Confirmation is, as it were, a spiritual coming of age. As we can come of age physically but once, so we can come of age spiritually but once. The baptismal character marks us as a disciple (follower) of Christ, while the character given in Confirmation enrolls us as an apostle (missionary) of Christ, fully equipped for promotion of the apostolate.
This is a most important aspect of receiving Confirmation, which is very often left out in the formation classes given in parishes: The person being confirmed becomes a Soldier of Christ, and must be trained for the combat in defense of His Law and His Love, in the Holy Church He founded. One must be in the state of grace to receive it, because it is a sacrament of the living, not of the spiritually dead like Baptism and Confession.
Those who are so unfortunate as to receive the great Sacrament of Confirmation in a state of mortal sin commit a sacrilege, but they may, by due repentance and Confession, obtain the precious gifts of grace it conveys. The sacramental character is already present, and will operate upon repentance.
You may ask: “But is Confirmation necessary for salvation?” Although Confirmation is not a necessary means for salvation, still the Church teaches that “the faithful are bound by obligation to receive this sacrament at the proper time.”
We are not obliged to eat nutritious food all the time, as we sometimes indulge in junk food, but it would be for our benefit to eat good food all the time, instead of junk. It is likewise with Confirmation. We are not obliged to receive it, but it would be a foolish thing to do not to receive it, to put it bluntly. By receiving it we have everything to gain, and nothing to lose.
Hence, no one should refuse Confirmation or unduly postpone it. So much depends on our receiving it worthily that we should exercise the greatest care in our preparation for it, making our best efforts to acquire knowledge of the doctrine and to put ourselves in the proper disposition by Confession and Holy Communion.
That is why parishes must work hard and with great care to prepare the teenagers who are going to receive the sacrament.
That was how the apostles prepared themselves to receive the Holy Spirit: When they were awaiting His descent at Pentecost, for many days they “with one accord devoted themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14). For each of us our Confirmation is our Pentecost, and it comes but once. Confirmation is obligatory for anyone preparing for Ordination to the priesthood, and highly desirable for a man and a woman who are going to be married.
So, one could say that it was on Pentecost Day that the Church instituted the Sacrament of Confirmation, right? The answer is simple, and you Wanderer readers ought to know it by now: No, it was not. The Church never instituted the Sacrament of Confirmation, as it was instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ, just like the other sacraments.
The Magisterium of the Catholic Church, in the exercise of her infallible authority, declared the institution of the Sacrament of Confirmation by Christ to be a doctrine given to her by God Himself, transmitted by the apostolic fathers and bishops of the early Church. This proof alone suffices for us Catholics. The Church, says St. Paul, is the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).
But we may add a couple of other proofs for fuller instruction, taken from Sacred Scripture.
1) Christ’s promise to send the Holy Spirit on His apostles (Acts 1:8) was fulfilled at the first Pentecost.
2) But this ineffable gift was not intended for the apostles alone: It was intended for all the faithful as well. Remember how in the Acts of the Apostles, immediately after having received the Holy Spirit, St. Peter addressed the multitude and said: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to Him” (Acts 2:38-39).

The Rite

3) The apostles communicated this gift to the people by a rite distinct from Baptism: “Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:14-17).
Let us break down this passage to emphasize the more relevant parts.
This passage shows that:
a) The apostles conferred the gift of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands and by prayer, that is, by a visible rite; they did not confer the Holy Spirit on the people by means of their personal prayer alone. There was a rite to be observed, namely, the laying on of hands and a prayer, the form of the sacrament.
b) The rite was distinct from Baptism, as the people of Samaria had already been baptized by the Deacon Philip; Confirmation was added to them.
c) The same arguments may be adduced from Acts 19:5-6: “They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them.”
d) The administration of Confirmation was reserved to the apostles, who were the first bishops. If the Deacon Philip could have administered it to the Samaritans, Peter and John would not have risked going to Samaria unnecessarily, in a time of persecution at the peril of their lives.
e) That the rite must have been instituted by Christ Himself is evident, for it is only He who could have endowed it with its grace-giving power. The apostles did not have that power, only God does.
4) The rite consisted in prayer and the laying on of hands. Very early on, anointing also was made part of the rite.
5) The only rite in our days that can claim identity with the rite administered by the apostles is our rite of Confirmation. If our Confirmation were not the same as the “laying on of hands” of the apostles, the absurd conclusion would be that the Church of Christ abandoned a rite instituted by Christ and administered by the apostles. But this cannot happen, because He promised that He would be with His Church till the end of time.
Next article: Confirmation — final installment.

+ + +

(Raymond de Souza, KM, is a Knight of the Sovereign and Military Order of Malta; a delegate for International Missions for Human Life International [HLI]; and an EWTN program host. He is a militant pro-life writer and apologist, addressing live audiences and delivering talks on television, radio, and online. To date he has given over 2,500 presentations in 38 countries of the six continents. He is available to speak at Catholic events, both large and small, anywhere in the Free World, in four languages — English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Website: www.RaymonddeSouza.com.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vikings quarterback lists winning pass as 3rd best life-moment, behind finding Jesus

January 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) –  Vikings Quarterback Case Keenum said throwing the game-winning pass in the last few seconds of Sunday’s championship game against the New Orleans Saints was only the third best moment in his life. Keenum’s first best…Continue Reading

On the purpose of politics and the salvation of souls

“Beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal creator of all things, today became our Savior by being born of a mother. Of his own will he was born for us today, in time, so that he could lead us to…Continue Reading

Don’t let fear keep you from welcoming the stranger, Pope says

Vatican City, Jan 14, 2018 / 04:45 am (CNA/EWTN News).- At a special Mass Sunday for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis said that while it is normal to be afraid of the unknown, we can’t let…Continue Reading

Notre Dame could face legal investigation for flip-flopping on contraception coverage

SOUTH BEND, Indiana, January 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A group of over sixty Notre Dame alumni attorneys has written an open letter to the university’s president, Father William Jenkins, CSC, to protest the university’s decision to continue the dissemination of…Continue Reading

Poland: Marches of the Three Kings Draw 1.2 Million

Under the motto “God is for everyone”, 1.2 million Poles in more than 660 cities and towns in Poland and abroad joined in the March of the Three Kings. This year’s event was accompanied by fundraising “Kings for the East”,…Continue Reading

Bishops’ letter on sexual identity prompts LGBT counter-lobbying

Washington D.C., Jan 5, 2018 / 12:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Several Catholic bishops’ call for clarity and compassion on sexual identity issues such as transgenderism drew the ire of a dissenting Catholic group which is part of a well-funded LGBT…Continue Reading

Rural Minnesota Catholic parish dismisses musicians over gay marriages

For weeks now, a Catholic parish in the rural St. Croix River Valley north of the Twin Cities has been praying through turmoil, brought by a trio of startling dismissals. On one hand, even many of the most distressed don’t…Continue Reading

Trump replaces Obama-appointed gay ambassador with family man: report

MADRID, January 3, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump Administration recently installed a new Ambassador to Spain. The former Obama appointee who was a pro-LGBT openly gay man ‘married’ to a man was replaced with a family man who has a…Continue Reading

Former bishop of Charlotte’s Catholic diocese dies at 90

Bishop William Curlin, who presided over the rapidly growing Catholic Diocese of Charlotte from 1994 to 2002, died Saturday at Carolinas Medical Center. He was 90. The cause of death was cancer, which he had battled for years. Curlin was…Continue Reading

Pope takes 27 candidates a step closer to sainthood‎

Pope Francis has authorized 12 decrees on miracles, martyrdom and heroic virtues of 22 men and 5 ‎women. ‎ by Robin Gomes Pope Francis on Monday took 27 men and women a step closer to sainthood.  The Pope received Card. Angelo Amato,…Continue Reading

Catholic League: Boston Globe Refuses to Name Its Own Abusers

The Boston Globe, which has turned stories about child sexual abuse by Catholic priests into a cottage industry, refuses to publish the names of its own staff members who have been charged with sexual harassment, according to Bill Donohue, president…Continue Reading

Facebook Nixes Photo of Vatican Nativity Scene as ‘Sexually Provocative’

In one of the least likely stories of all time, Facebook has vetoed a photo of the Vatican’s yearly Nativity scene, referencing its policy against “sexually suggestive or provocative” images. The manger scene integrates into the typical depiction of the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

U.S. Congressman: Pro-life ‘turf battle’ preventing vote on bill to ban nearly all abortions

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life groups and members of Congress are divided over whether on the day of the March for Life, the U.S. House should vote on a bill that would ban nearly all abortions, or instead a bill to ban infanticide after botched abortions. The Heartbeat Protection Act would make it illegal to abort babies whose heartbeats can be detected. “It’s the most protective incremental bill in existence,” said one…Continue Reading

Professor rebukes new Academy for Life member’s ‘disastrous’ approval of contraception

ROME, January 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A prominent Austrian Catholic philosopher has issued a forceful rebuttal to the call of a new member of the Pontifical Academy for Life to allow contraception in some circumstances. Professor Josef Seifert, co-founder of the International Academy of Philosophy (IAP) and a former member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has said the positions of Fr. Maurizio Chiodi, delivered on Dec. 14, 2017 during a public lecture at the…Continue Reading

Catholic groups decry end of immigration protection for Salvadorans

WASHINGTON (CNS) — As the Catholic Church in the U.S. began observing National Migration Week, a time to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, immigrants, refugees, and human trafficking victims, the administration of President Donald Trump announced that it would end an immigration program for thousands of Salvadorans, one of the largest groups of modern-day immigrants in the country and one that includes many Catholic

New Academy for Life member uses Amoris to say some circumstances ‘require’ contraception

ROME, January 8, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Responsible parenthood can obligate a married couple to use artificial birth control, a recently appointed member of the Pontifical Academy for Life has argued, basing his theory on Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia. Italian moral theologian Father Maurizio Chiodi said at a December 14 public lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome that there are “circumstances — I refer to Amoris Laetitia, Chapter 8…Continue Reading

Justice Thomas Opens Up On Life, Faith And His Interracial Marriage

Justice Clarence Thomas is in his 27th term in the U.S. Supreme Court, and he agreed to become the 341st leader interviewed for my Daily Caller News Foundation series. Now at age 69, he is looking back on his life with gratitude and discernment with valuable lessons for others. People often want to define you by the bad things that happen in your life, he says, but there has been so much good amidst the…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… The Sexual Harassment “Crisis” — Time For Some Clear Thinking

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Revisiting “The Four Loves”: The Four Rights

By DONALD DeMARCO C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves, which was published in 1960, is a classic. The author succeeded with his accustomed wit and wisdom in showing how four kinds of love — affection, friendship, amorous love, and charity — are both distinctive as well as interrelated. He penned this work just three years before…Continue Reading

Our Lady Of Fatima… The Close Of The Fatima Centenary

By FR. SEAN CONNOLLY (Editor’s Note: This is the twelfth and final article in a series on the one hundredth anniversary of our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima. Fr. Connolly is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. The staff and readers of The Wanderer wish to thank Fr. Connolly for his scholarly and inspiring…Continue Reading

Court Strikes Baltimore Forced Abortion Speech Law

BALTIMORE — The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on January 5 struck down a Baltimore City Ordinance seeking to impose notification requirements on unlicensed pregnancy centers. The ordinance compelled these pregnancy resource centers to post notices that conspicuously state in English and Spanish that they do not provide nor refer women for abortions or birth…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… The Sexual Harassment “Crisis” — Time For Some Clear Thinking

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

“Ad Orientem” Dei Gloriam

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK We have all heard the saying that “he who hesitates is lost.” We don’t hear enough about the fact that dithering in the face of opportunity can also mean the loss of an immortal soul. How many priests hesitate every day to courageously proclaim the truth or to offer the traditions of the Church in…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… Confirmation: A Spiritual Coming Of Age

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 11 In previous lessons, we have learned that out of the seven sacraments instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ, three of them can be received only once in life, namely, Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. This is so because they imprint a “character,” that is, a spiritual, indelible mark that lasts forever, and, therefore,…Continue Reading

Requirements For Matrimony

By DON FIER The celebration of the Sacrament of Matrimony between two baptized Catholics, as we saw last week, normally takes place during the Eucharist. “Since marriage establishes the couple in a public state of life in the Church,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), “it is fitting that its celebration be public, in the framework of a…Continue Reading

Follow The Lord And Repent

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: John 3:1-5, 10 1 Cor. 7:29-31 Mark 1:14-20 In the beginning of our Lord’s public ministry, the first message He spoke, as St. Mark recorded it, was that it is a time of fulfillment and that the Kingdom of God is at hand; therefore, it is necessary to…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. In the Mass readings leading up to Christmas, we have the Angel Gabriel appearing first to Zechariah and then to Mary. Both seemed to have the same doubts about the angel’s words, but Zechariah was struck mute and Mary was not. Why were they treated differently? — E.M., via e-mail. A. Zechariah was punished because he doubted (“How shall…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Marguerite Bourgeoys

By CAROLE BRESLIN Our Lord has no limits and conditions for persons whom He calls to sainthood. They may be the richest, such as St. Francis of Assisi, or the poorest such, as the children of Fatima. They may be powerful, such as St. Louis, king of France, or humble, such as our Lady. They may be the most brilliant,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. John The Apostle

By CAROLE BRESLIN John the Apostle, who wrote one of the four Gospels, three letters, and the Book of Revelation, is known as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Perhaps because John was so young, innocent, virginal, and pure Jesus loved him in a special way. Or perhaps it was because He knew that John would be the only apostle who…Continue Reading